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Spunky & Tadpole (1958)




Spunky was a small boy and Tadpole was his oddly named teddy bear. The pair traveled along having adventures that were typical of early cartoons. Luckily for Spunky, Tadpole was able to talk and help out whenever things got a little rough.

Like many early cartoons, the animation on Spunky and Tadpole was fairly basic. Characters mainly stood perfectly still and spoke their lines to one another, rarely moving. Simple animation aside, the main attraction of the cartoon was the early talents of the now-legendary Don Messick, who provided the voice of Tadpole as well as most villains and secondary characters. While Spunky and Tadpole received a major amount of promotion from its syndicator Guild Films, it did poorly in the ratings against the popular Huckleberry Hound and other kid-friendly competition. The serialized shorts continued to air on local programs into the 1960's, but Spunky and Tadpole never reached the same level of fame and success as their Hanna-Barbera competitors.


Producer Creator: No one will admit to it. Produced by: Beverly Film
Audio/Visual sound, color

Reviews

Reviewer: AtlasFilms - - July 22, 2011
Subject: Lost Masterpiece of TV Land
Funny - everybody seems to hate this glorious little cartoon series. Me, I think its way under-rated.

Firstly, it doesn't have limited animation - there is actually a good deal of animation going on, especially via some playful, repetitive body language and curious eye movements. (Characters like to wink at one another alot).

Secondly, S&T is the first TV toon I recall as having had a somewhat sardonic subtext, foreshadowing stuff by Bob Clampett and Jay Ward. (Maybe Crusader Rabbit was actually the first, but S&T carried on the tradition proudly.) There are some clever puns and topical jokes and cultural references in the dialogue if you pay attention. And the cliffhanger endings, with their campy faux-serial titles, are hilarious (i.e. "I Was A Snowman For the FBI").

S&T was the brainchild of Ed Janis and Art Moore, who brought it to life with the help of graphic artist Bob Caples. All went on to create the successful TV toon series "Captain Sailorbird."

If "Cartoon Research" hack Jerry Beck calls something "the worst," it usually means its pop culture gold. Personally, I would watch S&T any time over those vapid 1950s Hanna-Barbera toons, which were truly brain-dead - even as a kid I thought they were dumb.

Spunky & Tadpole, on the other hand, was sorta "smart" for its time.

AF
Reviewer: Dwight Frye - - December 24, 2008
Subject: Pretty bad
Hadnt seen this cartoon since I was 4 or 5 years old.Had barely thought about it since then.After watching this,can remember why.But is cool to see again anyway.Wouldnt mind seeing a few more.Muchos gracias.
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